Montana to Raleigh, NC — From Dennis Edwards, president & CEO at Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, “A big thanks to the Today Show for the outstanding coverage on the Dueling Dinosaurs Exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.”
Termed the discovery of the century in paleontology, in 2006 “Dinosaur Cowboy” helped unearth a 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops fossil found together in mid-duel in Montana. The fossils are now being moved to the museum for a new permanent exhibit opening in 2023.
Soaking It Up Somewhere — The Wellness Tourism Market is expected to recover and grow 20.9% annually and generate more than $1.127 billion by 2025, reports Travel Age West. Consumers’ interest is on the rise due to the pandemic, says the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute, The research is expanded in a trends report to be issued on Feb. 8, 2022.
Hello, thermal springs.
The Western states in particular are known for their thermal springs: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming; but there are interesting hot springs (think Hot Springs, Arkansas and Warm Springs, Georgia favored by President Franklin D. Roosevelt) in other states throughout the country.
What slowdown? Wine tourism in Northern California hasn’t been thirsty for business, even with one day experiences sporting price tags like $950 per person for top vineyard tours with award-winning winemakers. Sure, you get to taste the stuff, too — out of the finest crystal glasses that money can buy.
In a deeper look (pun intended) at luxury wine tourism, The San Francisco Chronicle reports, “…People are seeking out more adventurous, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, perhaps because COVID was such a stark reminder of our mortality.”
Did you know? Grape vines of some varietals grow to reach 20 feet into the soil below in search of water.
With a sigh of relief, winemakers safely got through the 2021 harvest without precious grapes ruined by smoke taint (as in 2020) and the juice is safely in barrels now. As winter rolls out Napa- and Sonoma-style, flowering mustard seeds produce a vivid carpet of yellow beneath the vines and the whole cycle begins again.
Monterey Bay Aquarium illuminates the wonders of Earth’s largest living space and most mysterious habitats in its new exhibition, “Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean,” opening on April 9, 2022 following five years of research and planning.
The 10,000-square-foot exhibition will give an unparalleled descent from the ocean’s surface through the dark abyss of the midwater to the seafloor where animals have evolved to live without light. The deep-sea exhibition — a fully bilingual experience in English and Spanish — offers a rare look at the animals that thrive in the least explored area of the planet, including species being displayed for the first time anywhere and some that are so new to science they have yet to be named.
On the Northern California coast, the famous aquarium sits on the edge of a sea canyon at Monterey Bay that’s said to extend to depths that equal the Grand Canyon.
National Plan for Vacation Day is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January, a day to encourage Americans to plan their time off.
U.S. Travel Association says, “Join 7,000+ participating organizations as we activate to celebrate and help Americans plan their time off! Happily, inspiring vacation planning doesn’t begin and end on on January 25. It’s something that can be done throughout the year. ”
10 Downing Street, London — Governments around the world are starting to acknowledge that strict travel restrictions cannot stop the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
In Britain, the need for a pre-departure test for inbound visitors has been ditched for those who are fully vaccinated and for under-18s. Arriving visitors will still take an approved lateral flow test on day two after arrival and will not be required to isolate until getting a negative result.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that the strict “testing has effectively outlived its usefulness when it comes to travel” given that Omicron was now so widespread. “That’s why we’ve removed it… I hope it gives tourism a bump start this year.” He also encouraged people in Britain to go ahead and book holidays abroad.
Longwoods International — Key Findings in Wave 53 of the American Travel Sentiment Survey. Update: The Omicron variant is taking its toll on travel intentions and perceptions of health and safety at the start of 2022.
“The percentage of travelers planning a trip in the next month has slipped significantly from 23% in October to 15% in January.” Amir Eylon, president & CEO of Longwoods International said, “Uncertainty about the current Omicron wave of infections has travelers postponing trips. As with previous waves of coronavirus, the current state of the pandemic directly impacts both the planning and purchase of travel.”
- 34% of American travelers indicate they are postponing travel as a direct result of the Omicron variant.
- 58% of travelers are changing their plans due to the pandemic (up 7 points alone in the past month)!
- Visiting friends and relatives via car dominate the first travel plans folks have for 2022, although air travel is starting to rise.
- Perhaps the biggest impact Omicron is having on travel at the moment relates to resident sentiment:
- Only 53% support opening communities to visitors (down 8 points in the past month)
- Only 62% feel safe dining and shopping locally (down 7 points in the past month)
- Despite all of this, pent up demand remains at a record high as 89% of American travelers still indicate plans to travel in the next six months!
“Bottom Line: American travelers are accepting and adapting to circumstances, but NOT giving up on travel!”